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15 Stunning Tropical Flowers of Hawaii: A Colorful Journey

With its lush landscapes and vibrant hues, Hawaii is a paradise of biodiversity. This article delves into 15 tropical flowers of Hawaii, embodying the Aloha State’s unique beauty and cultural heritage.

Major Tropical Flowers of Hawaii

1. Hibiscus


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Scientific Name: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis

Hibiscus, known as the ‘Rose of China’, is a radiant flower with large, colorful blooms available in a spectrum of colors. This stunning flower holds a special place in Hawaiian culture where it symbolizes beauty and joy. It’s a popular ornamental plant in households and gardens across the islands, further enhancing Hawaii’s reputation for exotic beauty.

2. Plumeria


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Scientific Name: Plumeria spp.

Plumeria, widely recognized for its intoxicating fragrance and distinctive structure of five petals, is a tropical marvel. Also known as frangipani, its pastel-toned flowers are an iconic feature of the Hawaiian landscape. Plumeria is widely used in creating the Hawaiian leis, a traditional floral garland symbolizing hospitality and respect.

3. Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

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Scientific Name: Strelitzia reginae

The Bird of Paradise, named for its striking resemblance to an exotic bird in flight, is an extraordinary flower. Its vibrant orange and blue flowers create a spectacular display, embodying the spirit of tropical paradise. These flowers hold a special place in Hawaiian horticulture for their unique aesthetic appeal.

4. Anthurium


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Scientific Name: Anthurium andraeanum

The Anthurium, with its glossy, heart-shaped flowers, is a distinctive member of Hawaii’s floral family. Available in a range of vibrant colors, this flower is often associated with hospitality. The long-lasting nature of Anthurium blooms makes them popular in floral arrangements and as an ornamental plant.

5. Orchids


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Scientific Name: Numerous genera and species, including endemic species like Anoectochilus sandvicensis and Liparis hawaiensis

The Hawaiian islands are home to various species of Orchids, each with its own delicate and intricate form. These flowers, often found in Hawaii’s tropical rainforests, represent refinement and luxury. Their diverse shapes, colors, and sizes contribute to the islands’ rich biodiversity.

6. Red Ginger

Red Ginger

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Scientific Name: Alpinia purpurata

Red Ginger, with its cone-shaped clusters of vibrant red flowers, is a true tropical spectacle. Known for its ornamental appeal, Red Ginger’s flowers stand out with their bold color and unique form. It’s not uncommon to find these flowers decorating homes, hotels, and public spaces in Hawaii, symbolizing fiery passion and vibrancy in the local culture.

7. Heliconia


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Scientific Name: Various species in the genus Heliconia

Heliconia, characterized by its unique, lobster-claw shaped flowers, is a feast for the eyes. The plant’s dramatic structure and vivid colors make it a stand-out in any tropical garden. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Heliconia plays a significant ecological role by attracting a myriad of birds, including the island’s native honeycreepers, contributing to the biodiversity of Hawaii.

8. Pua Kala

Pua Kala

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Scientific Name: Argemone glauca

The Hawaiian Prickly Poppy, or Pua Kala, is a thorny plant native to the dry, coastal areas of Hawaii. Despite its prickly exterior, its large white or pale yellow flowers offer a delicate beauty. Known for its use in traditional medicine, Pua Kala stands as a testament to Hawaii’s rich natural heritage and its people’s intimate connection with the land.

9. Pikake (Jasmine)


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Scientific Name: Jasminum sambac

Pikake, also known as Hawaiian Jasmine, offers a sweet and alluring fragrance that enchants anyone nearby. Known for its delicate, white blossoms, Pikake holds significant cultural value. These flowers are often woven into fragrant leis, becoming a central part of traditional Hawaiian celebrations. The Pikake’s intense fragrance and exquisite blossoms symbolize love and respect in the island’s rich culture.

10. Naupaka


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Scientific Name: Scaevola taccada

The Naupaka’s half-shaped flowers, appearing as though a beautiful blossom was torn apart, give the plant a distinctive appearance. This unique feature is linked to a Hawaiian legend of star-crossed lovers, infusing the plant with poignant cultural significance. Despite its delicate appearance, the Naupaka is a hardy plant well-adapted to Hawaii’s coastal areas, embodying the resilience of the islands.

11. Ilima


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Scientific Name: Sida fallax

Ilima, adorned with petite, golden-yellow flowers, serves as the official flower of Oahu. Historically, these flowers were worn by Hawaiian royalty, signifying distinction and elegance. Even today, Ilima flowers find their way into beautiful leis, and the plant itself is used for its medicinal properties in traditional practices, standing as a vibrant symbol of the island’s rich heritage.

12. Kokio Ke’oke’o (White Hibiscus)

White Hibiscus

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Scientific Name: Hibiscus waimeae

The Kokio Ke’oke’o, or White Hibiscus, is an extraordinary flower native to Hawaii, remarkable for its large, white flowers that gradually transform to pink throughout the day. As one of the few species of hibiscus native to the islands, it holds a special place in the rich tapestry of Hawaiian flora. This stunning flower serves as a vivid embodiment of the dynamic beauty and uniqueness of Hawaii’s tropical landscape.

13. Silversword


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Scientific Name: Argyroxiphium sandwicense

Native to the high-altitude regions of Hawaii, the Silversword is a spectacle with its rosette shape and long silver leaves. The flower head, which blooms only once in the plant’s lifetime, adds to the uniqueness of this Hawaiian endemic species. The Silversword’s rare and dramatic lifecycle symbolizes the remarkable resilience of Hawaii’s native flora.

14. Lobelia


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Scientific Name: Lobelia spp.

Hawaii’s unique species of Lobelia are a sight to behold with their columnar growth and bright, tubular flowers that range from vibrant blue to fiery red. Adapted to high-elevation habitats, these plants contribute to the diversity of the Hawaiian landscape. Their striking appearance and unique adaptation to the local environment underscore the richness of Hawaii’s endemic flora.

15. Ohia Lehua

Ohia Lehua

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Scientific Name: Metrosideros polymorpha

The Ohia Lehua, one of the first plants to grow on fresh lava flows, demonstrates remarkable resilience. Its puff-like red flowers lend a distinctive charm to the Hawaiian landscape. With significant cultural value, featuring in local legends and hulas, the Ohia Lehua is a vibrant symbol of the islands’ rich heritage and natural beauty.


From the vibrant Hibiscus to the alluring Pikake, the tropical flowers of Hawaii offer a fascinating glimpse into the state’s rich biodiversity and cultural narratives. Each flower, a vibrant thread woven into the Hawaiian tapestry of life, waits to share its story with the world.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.